1435251653836

On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court, with a 6-3 decision on King vs. Burwell affirmed as constitutional and legal nationwide subsidies for middle and low-income families to assist in the purchase of health insurance through Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) exchange. The ruling is getting compliments from across the political landscape while conservatives grumble about its impact.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), said that the court decision on the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, is a tremendous victory for our nation. “Every modern day U.S. president has acknowledged the urgency of healthcare reform, but President Obama and congressional Democrats successfully answered the call with the passage of the law,” Butterfield said.

“Since passage of the ACA, more than 10 million African Americans, including 3.9 million adult African-American women, no longer have lifetime or annual limits on their health insurance coverage, and nearly 8 million African-Americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing.”

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts wrote the majority opinion supporting the federal health care exchange with Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kegan and Anthony Kennedy supporting his position. The dissenting opinion was written by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by his colleagues Samuel Alito and the only Black Justice on the court, Clarence Thomas.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D) jurisdiction as well as Maryland, isn’t covered by the court’s decision. Nevertheless, the delegate chastised her Republican colleagues for their opposition to the ACA.

“Perhaps our Republican opponents, who have tried to repeal the Act 60 times, will take note that the court avoided the interpretation that would have destroyed health care markets, the same outcome that would have resulted from their attempted appeals,” Norton said.

The 34 states that the decision covers, such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, have the option of setting up their own exchanges. If they don’t, their residents will have to use the federal system with the subsidies that it offers.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said that the high court was correct in supporting the ACA because it is working to improve access, affordability, and quality. “That is the story I hear as I travel across the country,” Burwell said. “People’s lives have been changed and even saved because they have health insurance – many for the first time. They have coverage that can keep them healthy and provide quality care when they are sick.”

The court’s decision had its partisan political overtones, with Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) supporting the court’s decision while Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted the ruling and the Democrats, particularly Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton supports big government mandates and expanding the government’s reach into our healthcare system, maneuvers that have made our healthcare system worse off,” Priebus said. “What you will not hear from Democrats is any information on how to make healthcare more affordable at a time when premiums are getting more expensive.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black GOP member of the Senate, said that he disagreed with the court’s decision, saying that higher insurance premiums and skyrocketing deductibles will be the result of the ruling.

“We recently learned that more than 100,000 South Carolinians will see premium increases up to 33 percent next year and I fear that is only the beginning,” Scott said.

The senator said that he will continue to work to repeal the ACA, a position that all of the major 2016 Republican candidates for president take. The 2016 Democratic candidates support the decision even though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said that he favors a single-payer system, which is a nationally publicly-financed health care program that covers everyone from birth to death.

Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, is happy that the Supreme Court recognizes the value of the ACA in helping struggling Americans meet health care costs.

“Especially with the ongoing challenges facing low- and middle-income Americans, subsidies are often needed to open the door to health care and mitigate the high cost of not having health insurance,” Brock said. “The NAACP will continue to educate Americans about the ACA and encourage them to get covered and get healthy.”